Winning big jobs is the biggest thrill of all

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 November, 2008, 12:00am

Beating the competition to a lucrative contract is the most exciting part of the role of Thomas Tang as director of valuation and advisory services in Hong Kong at CB Richard Ellis

We have only eight hours per day to work, but the work takes more than eight hours and I leave the office very late. Every day I write proposals and instructions which we provide to clients. In a week, I write seven to 10 proposals and they probably occupy about 30 to 40 per cent of my work time.

Secondly, I write inspections of properties. There's a valuation procedure and we need to inspect properties we value. My main job, however, is to write financial reports and to deal with reports written by my subordinates.

I need to contact our clients and have business meetings, which might be related to jobs or potential projects. I also need to attend internal meetings with our management, talking about staffing or company or management matters.

I am also responsible for staff training. There are sometimes training sessions for all staff who are interested in valuation or who are taking examinations, so there are many jobs for me to do.

The most challenging part of my job is to get big jobs; this is very interesting. Normal jobs are about HK$20,000 to HK$200,000 each, but I like to get jobs that are 100 or 200 times bigger than these, so that I don't need to write so many proposals. This means that I can guarantee that my staff will have a job to do, at least for the medium term, say two to three years. I need to lead a suitable team and train the sort of staff who can handle that kind of big job.

Over the past few years, winning a big job has been the most exciting part of my role. There are so many competitors and some are very experienced. When we win the job, it's because we organised a strong team and spent more time studying the background details.

In terms of professional teams, winning means we are the best. And, in terms of team support, we go for the highest-profile and highest-calibre staff to support the job. You need to offer very good job service for the biggest jobs. Often, our bids are the highest, so we are more profitable in terms of staff input and the time we spend on the job.

Property affects us all. Valuation plays an important role in the property market, such as in 1997 when many people suffered. I think we have a role to play and there's a long way to go for local surveyors and in terms of how the market operates in Hong Kong.

This job is suitable for all kinds of people; there's no predetermined style and we don't have a model when we recruit people. We are quite open and, provided that you are devoted to the job, follow the training and develop well, you will get results.

The nature of evaluating is that it is not difficult to get started or to learn how to do the job. However, it is difficult to sort out a particular problem. It's not a job that you can study in a short period. You need to work day by day and year by year to gain experience.

You need to build up a professional image and become more confident about expressing your ideas about the market and land matters. Sooner or later, you'll grow into a professional.